USA – Multiple Stories

How Sandra Day O’Connor upheld abortion rights on the Supreme Court

Thirty years before the overturn of Roe v. Wade, Sandra Day O’Connor, first woman on the US Supreme Court, who died Friday at the age of 93, was instrumental in keeping abortion legal at the federal level during her tenure. In 1973, the US Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade, deciding that abortion was federally protected in a 7-2 vote.

SOURCE: News Nation Now, by Cassie Buchman, 1 December 2023 ; PHOTO 2012, by T.J. Kirkpatrick / Getty Images: Time, 7 July 2016


UN experts say US abortion bans violate human rights and call on the US to fully decriminalise abortion

The United States is violating human rights by denying legal access to abortion—and should take immediate action to end the criminalization of abortion at the federal, state and local levels. This is the newly released conclusion of the United Nations Human Rights Committee in response to testimony from Ipas, Global Justice Center, State Innovation Exchange, Amnesty International, Ipas, Human Rights Watch, RH Impact, and Obstetricians for Reproductive Justice in October.

“This is a reckoning for US policymakers at every level of government,” said Bethany Van Kampen Saravia, Ipas senior legal and policy advisor, who attended the October hearing in Geneva. “The UN Human Rights Committee has appropriately called on the US government to acknowledge the human rights crisis that is taking place within America, as states continue to ban abortion and limit access to sexual and reproductive health care.”

SOURCE: Ipas, 17 November 2023 ; VISUAL: UN Human Rights Committee meeting


20 women and two doctors have sued the state of Texas, saying state abortion laws endangered them

Cristina Nuñez’s doctors had always advised her not to get pregnant. She has diabetes, end-stage renal disease and other health conditions, and when she unexpectedly did become pregnant, it made her extremely sick. Now she is suing her home state of Texas, arguing that the abortion laws in the state delayed her care and endangered her life.

Nuñez and six other women joined an ongoing lawsuit over Texas’s abortion laws. The plaintiffs allege the exception for when a patient’s life is in danger is too narrow and vague, and endangered them during complicated pregnancies.

The case was originally filed in March 2023 with five patient plaintiffs, but more have joined. The total number is now 20 patients plus two ob-gyns. After a dramatic hearing in July, a district court judge agreed with the plaintiffs that the law needed to change, but the state immediately appealed her ruling directly to the Texas Supreme Court. Their lawyers argued that the women had not been harmed by the state’s laws but suggested that their doctors were responsible for any harms they claimed. That allowed the three overlapping abortion bans to stand.

The Texas Supreme Court heard the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary injunction that would allow abortions for a wider range of medical situations on 28 November. A Fox News report said that while all the justices were conservatives and would tend to side with the current law, the arguments on behalf of the women were strong. They said the judgment will probably not be announced until June 2024, the end of their current term.

The recording of the hearing is available here online.

SOURCES: National Public Radio, by Selena Simmons-Duffin, 15 November 2023 ; PHOTO OF THE 20 WOMEN from Voice of America, YouTube video, 1 December 2023; Fox News report just after the hearing ; SEE ALSO: Bayliss Wagner, Austin American-Statesman, 29 November 2023


Anti-abortion Arizona Supreme Court Justice recuses himself from abortion case

An Arizona Supreme Court justice, who once accused Planned Parenthood of committing genocide, has agreed to recuse himself from a case involving them that will determine the future legality of abortion in the state. In October, Planned Parenthood Arizona called for Justice Bill Montgomery to step away from the case after the resurfacing of a 2017 Facebook post in which he said its national counterpart was responsible for the “greatest generational genocide known to man.” The organisation, which runs four of the state’s nine abortion clinics and is the main litigant in the case, argued that Montgomery’s vehement opposition to it threatens to jeopardise its right to a fair and impartial trial.

SOURCE: AZ Mirror, by Gloria Rebecca Gomez, 30 November 2023